Pasta with Fresh Clam Sauce

Published November 1, 1997.

Why this recipe works:

We wanted to find just the right proportions of just the right ingredients for the best clam sauce recipe possible. We used a combination of tender but expensive littlenecks in the pasta and cheaper quahogs for the clam juice we’d need in the sauce. As for the method, we cooked the littlenecks… read more

We wanted to find just the right proportions of just the right ingredients for the best clam sauce recipe possible. We used a combination of tender but expensive littlenecks in the pasta and cheaper quahogs for the clam juice we’d need in the sauce. As for the method, we cooked the littlenecks first, just until they gave up their juices, then removed them from the pan (when overcooked, clams get tough). We then recombined the clams with the sauce at the end of cooking just enough to reheat them. For flavor, we thought we needed an acid ingredient in our clam sauce recipe. White wine, as well as just a little diced tomato (which also helped to color the dish), did the job.

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Serves 4

You can save a little money by substituting 6 large, inexpensive quahogs, which provide plenty of liquid for a briny, brothy dish, for about half the price of littlenecks or cockles. Because quahogs are so cheap, discard the steamed meat without guilt and dine on the sweet, tender littlenecks or cockles with the pasta. Don’t worry if some of the clams never open, as often happens with littlenecks and cockles; just open them at the table with a paring or similar small knife.

Ingredients

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